This call was put out by a group of parents, teachers, and community members, including one member of BOC:
Abolish White Schools. Abolish Wealthy Schools. Quality Learning for All!
Please join a kickoff/planning meeting to brainstorm the creation of a new group focused on issues of inequality and racism within the Seattle Public Schools.
Date: Tuesday, November 13
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Southside Commons (3518 S Edmunds Street, Seattle, WA 98118)
The schools are one of the main places where society’s inequalities are reproduced each generation.
Seattle has a legacy of ‘redlining’ – the explicit segregation of housing based on race. While some people consider our city to be a leader in progressive thinking, the inequalities of capitalism and white supremacy/privilege continue to oppress low income students of color in neighborhood schools that have been historically segregated.
These schools have struggled to receive the support they need to help students counteract the negative effects of systemic poverty. Meanwhile, things are very different for schools in predominantly white and middle/upper middle class areas. These mostly-white schools have had class size reductions and enrichment programs funded by their powerful PTSAs (Parent Teacher Student Associations). In one case (McGilvra Elementary in Madison Park) the PTSA raised more than $390,000 in addition to the standard district funding. The students that capitalism is already putting at advantage are getting ‘extras’ like a math teacher, a reading specialist, an art instructor, a computer trainer and a full-time counselor.
Back in the neighborhoods that are overwhelmingly populated by people of color, of the 14 schools with the highest percentage of Free and Reduced Lunch students, SEVEN schools have NO PTSA to raise ANY additional funds. The students that capitalism is putting at the greatest disadvantage get NO extras – no special enrichments, no special programs — just an increasingly efficient implementation of the schools to prison pipeline. Instead of funding enrichment programs for these student, King County is funding the construction of a new Juvenile Detention
center that will lock them up:
In addition, there are structural inequalities in how the Seattle Public School District distributes public funds to these schools. On Tues Nov 6th, Rainier Beach students walked out of school
to protest the fact that other schools are scheduled to receive levy funds for building renovations but Rainier Beach is not.
The school is in an old building that needs serious maintenance and renovation, and yet funds are being directed to wealthier and whiter schools. We met some of the Rainier Beach students when they spoke up about this at Wednesday’s school board meeting, and parents from the Franklin PTSA spoke about similar infrastructure problems at Franklin.
We aim to form a new group to fight to ABOLISH THIS INEQUITY. We aim to challenge the system that allows predominantly-white schools to function with advantaged funding, at the expense of students of color. We aim to begin by organizing parents, teachers, students, and community members to mobilize in solidarity with the Rainier Beach students who have boldly taken action.
In 1952, Brown vs. Board of Education ruled that ‘Separate but Equal’ is not legal. Yet due to housing patterns driven by the economic system, Seattle schools are BOTH Separate AND unequal. While there are many social and economic injustices in world, this one is right under our nose and it grows more foul year after year.
This meeting will be an introductory exchange of knowledge and ideas for how to fight back. This might include support for Rainier Beach students, community organizing, direct actions, and policy changes to force an equal distribution of funds across the district.
For background, here
is a mainstream media article on from earlier this year: